How Hamburg´s new foodlab is transforming the food startup & innovation scene
Christin Siegemund is the founder and managing director of the new Hamburg foodlab, which will open its doors this summer.
A space for food innovation, development, creation and much more, for small and large companies. Today, Christin tells us what this new space is all about and what moves her the most in the process of creating such a large project.
Christin, what does the foodlab offer both start-ups and larger, innovative companies in the food and beverage scene?
“Let's start with the start-ups: in addition to a large network that can open doors, we offer a lot of facilities: workstations, production, development, fermentation and gluten-free kitchens, a restaurant kitchen, a pop-up restaurant for hospitality startups, a media and event studio and on top of that we have an accelerator program, an agency for product innovation and innovation labs.
All this is complemented by the coffee roasting plant, which ensures the perfect coffee supply.
With the larger companies, things are a bit more compact: we always try to think in community, in cross-communication. For this, start-ups need larger companies for an exchange and vice versa.
That's why we give companies access to the “young savages”, who in turn financially support the accelerator program, and we give them the opportunity to use the facility and become part of the ecosystem.
In the end, everyone is welcome to network, share, develop and move forward. Because, I firmly believe, this can only be done together.”
What's the deal with your pop-up restaurant?
“In our pop up restaurant, the gastronomic concept changes every four weeks because the gastronomer who runs it also changes. If you have an idea for a restaurant and would like to test it, at lunch and/or dinner, feel free to contact us. We look at the concepts and if everything fits, you can start cooking. You only need to bring ingredients and the kitchen/service team.”
How is the response to the new space so far, despite the somewhat uncertain times? Have you noticed anything?
“In the first few weeks, we have felt the reluctance of companies with whom we had almost closed the deals before the crisis. This is spreading through all areas. But we are also noticing that companies that were already well-positioned before the pandemic and had innovation on their cards are not burying their heads in the sand now, but are more willing to continue with all plans.”
What are your 5 year goals and what should be achieved by the end of 2020?
“The most important goal right now is: opening up in summer! But by the end of 2020, structures should be in place, the team should be well-rehearsed and a certain amount of routine should be in place. Which will be exciting, because our world will turn faster than the world outside of the foodlab.
In five years? Hopefully we will have established ourselves as a food location.
But I don't think that ahead yet, as too much already happens in just one day right now.”
finally, Christin: If you had one wish, how would you like to influence the German food innovation scene in the long term with your foodlab?
“My wish is that, in and through foodlab, the industry will move closer together, because we will interweave the many different worlds of industry, trade, media, gastronomy, etc. I would like to see the real innovations emerge here, because processes, products, and cooperations develop organically. Simply because it fits.”
Interview held by Katharina Wagner from SPOONFUL Food + Beverage Marketing.